Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Stacks of crime books found in a trash bin

Been busy as hell. But I found some extra time when a friend of mine alerted me that her father, writer and critic, had to throw out his English-language crime novels. My friend said I might be interested, the books are in the trash bin of their house and easily available. I jumped on my bike and rode over to the other side of the town.

Lo and behold! There were some 200 books, mostly hardcover, in the trash bin, lots of American and British authors, with some very interesting writers included. I climbed in the bin and started unloading the books. There were so many I phoned a friend of mine who's a taxi driver. He said he's close by and can come to pick the books and take them to our house. When I got back home, I started going through the books. I picked up all the hardboiled and noir books, alongside with the thrillers, and let my friend have all the cozy ones. I didn't know all the books or the writers, but here are my stacks. What say you? Any stinkers in there I should get rid of?

There is a story behind the books. The writer (whom I actually also konw) has worked as a reader for a publisher in Finland and these (or at least most of them) were books that the foreign publishers and authors' agents had sent to Finland for a translation. I think almost none of these books ended up in being published, with the exception of Robert B. Parker's Poodle Springs (and that's the first edition). You note there's a small stack of Black Lizards in one of the photos. In one of them was a note from the Finnish publisher: "Could you read these and comment if they make any sense? They feel like pulp paperbacks."

Some of the books are ARCs, but I don't mind. I notice there are some rarities, like a book by Tom Kakonis, and William DeAndrea's The Werewolf Murders. I believe the Black Lizards aren't very common. Haven't checked these particular titles, though. Even the cozies included lots of uncommon titles, for example lots of first editions of British crime novels published in hardcover by Hale.

I hurt my left leg climbing out of the trash bin, so these didn't come free.




9 comments:

Walker Martin said...

I have to admit Juri that I don't understand stories about books just being thrown away. I have a lot of books in my house that I want to get rid of but I haven't been able to just throw them away as garbage. I looked at the titles of these books and there are some good crime novels. I'm glad that you were able to save them.

Juri Nummelin said...

Yeah, I know, but I can understand people occasionally: these were stacked in boxes in a cellar and they had to be removed because there was going to be some renovation. Luckily the writer's daughter Facebooked me and the books got a new home. I should've also taken pictures of the cozies as well, there were lots of interesting names there as well.

Richard said...

I agree with Walker, why toss out books? They can be sold, donated, heck, even recycle for the paper (a very last ditch option!). One other comment: your use of the word doozy is opposite of its meaning to me. "A real doozy" would be a very good thing, not a bad one. At least that's how my grandfather and father used it.

Juri Nummelin said...

Richard: thanks, should've checked the correct use of the word, meant bad or uninteresting ora stinker.

Patrick Murtha said...

Wow! Great haul! I'm glad you rescued these. Among the first that I'd be drawn to reading is Steve Fisher's "I Wake Up Screaming," partly because of my fondness for that sort of noir fiction, and partly because Fisher hasn't had nearly the attention of many of his contemporaries (Goodis, Woolrich, Thompson), even though he wrote much, and successfully, over a nearly 50-year period - novels, pulp stories, slick stories, screenplays, television scripts. He deserves a biography and more critical analysis.

Juri Nummelin said...

I'll definitely be reading Steve Fisher. Known the book for years, but haven't had it until now. I've read some short stories by him and they were excellent.

Todd Mason said...

You won't like D'Andrea's political asides, as much as there are in that novel (I haven't read it), but what I have read is solid...TRUST ME ON THIS is excellent Westlake...still need to read SACRED MONSTER.

Todd Mason said...

And it's delightful that the ignorant "pulp paperbacks" is still as much used as an insult as a backhanded compliment around the world.

Juri Nummelin said...

Well, of course the note was in Finnish, tried to come up with a phrase that would capture what the editor was trying to say. "Kiosk literature" is what we call this stuff here.